Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Small Little Joys of Dunedin

Back in Christchurch at my studio apartment on a Friday night, I was busy burying my disappointments and failures.  There was nothing unusual about this meeting; Fred, Natalie and I would meet up every second Friday and cry over a lot of issues. It was pretty clear that we were disappointed with our lives. It had been more than ten years that we had been working rigorously on our professions and had gained a lot professionally. But there were a lot of things we missed; a void had begun to develop in our souls that had a deep impact on our thought process. All this accomplishment and money wasn’t doing us good. None of us were in a steady relationship, how could we ever be? We had already got committed to our jobs. We had no time for ourselves, how would we ever give it to someone else.

“I think I need a break,” said Fred.
“Since ages,” Natalie added.
“I think I never wanted to be into this so called market research,” he carried on. The alcohol had started to affect him. In no time, I witnessed Natalie joining in.
“You know I’ve always wanted to watch birds,” she said.
“And I have wished to click as much of wildlife as I could. If it would not have been for my father, I’d have been a wildlife photographer.

I understood that we were all unhappy because we were not doing what we actually wanted to. We had been running after fame and money but no more could we put our heart and soul into it because we weren’t doing this for ourselves. I realized that as a teenager, I had always wanted to write about flora and fauna. I now knew there was another thing that made us gel so well, our love for nature and its inhabitants, keeping aside humans for some time.

At that moment, a thought struck my mind. I don’t know whether it was the whiskey making me take the decision or my heart but I blurted out, “Let’s go to Dunedin.”

Both of them looked at me questioningly. I remembered the famous environmentalist David Bellamy who had referred to this place as the finest example of eco tourism in the world.
“Ask no questions. Trust me, this is going to be the best place to unwind. I am pretty sure that it is going to quench our thirst,” I replied as a matter of fact.
We head off in the morning in a Toyota Corolla rented from Hertz since my humble hatchback had broken down last night.

The cool winds gushed and seemed to pierce our souls. It felt as if there was nothing more soothing than that moment. We drove turn by turn just to encounter the ecstasy of driving towards our ultimate destination. The smooth drive and the ambiance inside the car definitely turned our mood on and we couldn’t wait to reach there.

As we entered the splendid land of Dunedin, we understood why everyone recommended the place. It was no less than paradise on earth. Calm, serene, cool and soothing, I have no words to describe how amazing it felt to be in this beautiful place.
While I watched Fred capture the seabirds at Otago Peninsula, our first destination at Dunedin, I couldn’t help but thank the authorities for maintaining this place so well. We had the extreme pleasure of watching Northern Royal Albatross, Buller's Albatross, Wandering Albatross, White Capped Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters, Southern Giant Petrels, Bullers Shearwaters, Australasian Gannets, Fairy Prion among a range of pelagic birds.

Next, we moved on to Orokonui Ecosanctuary where we got a chance to see the flightless giant rails, Takahe that I had always read about. In a matter of hours, we had already gone berserk over the variety of fauna we had got to see there including kaka, tui, silvereye, bellbirds, brown creeper, grey warbler, rifleman, jewelled gecko, Otago skink, etc. A walk through the tracks of this sanctuary made me realize how less I had seen the beauty of my own land.

It was enlightening to see the little blue penguin touted as the smallest penguin in the world. I saw Natalie squeal in excitement when she saw the small little creature. While Fred’s DSLR came out once again, I found myself wondering at the miracles God had left for us on earth and how we misused it. I was amazed to see how a small little creature managed to give us a thrill and a chance to admire beauty at its best.

How do small little things in life give you happiness, I had always questioned people and now I came to know why the joy of owning  MAC lippies and Mango collection faded away but the weekend trip remained in my mind forever.

Note: This post came around out of nowhere. Probably because I have been fantasizing about this place too much :)